South Africa needs at least 60% of school-leavers to enter these jobs: minister

Higher Education, Science And Innovation minister Blade Nzimande says his department is embarking on a massive programme to train and employ more artisans in the country.

Speaking at a fuel retailers event on Thursday (9 June), Nzimande said the goal is to produce 30,000 artisans in South Africa per annum by 2030.

“South Africa needs at least 60% of school leavers to pursue artisanal type training to meet the country’s demand for scarce skills. We honestly need to do more to encourage school leavers to pursue technical trades.

“With the rise of digital transformation and artificial intelligence causing a disruption in industries, many jobs may no longer exist in the near future. However, there will always be jobs for artisans due to the technical skillset required to fix machines if they break down, for example.”

Nzimande added that becoming an artisan is a springboard to other careers such as in business, management or entrepreneurship.

“As artisan training is usually completed in two and a half years, their technical training offers quicker access to full-time employment, with apprentices often getting an apprenticeship with a company most likely in their first year. This means they can also start earning an income sooner or start their own businesses,” he said.

To accommodate this push, Nzimande said the government increased the Apprenticeship Learner Grant from R165,000 to R206,290 in 2021, to encourage employers hosting apprentices to ‘open up their workplaces’.

Nzimande also acknowledged broader problems in South Africa’s education system which meant that many students were not ready to enter the workforce.

“One of the challenges that we need to confront head-on, is the number of students who enter our university system, as a proportion of those who started Grade 1. Out of 100 students, only 12 access our university system, and only six complete – four with a degree.

“This clearly indicates that there are many young people who are lost through the system. We, therefore, need to cater for these students for us to expand our post-school opportunities.”


Read: Ramaphosa talks up government interventions for rising prices in South Africa

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South Africa needs at least 60% of school-leavers to enter these jobs: minister